29 October 2007 LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – At a ceremony last week the Law Society of England and Wales presented international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with its inaugural Excellence in Social Responsibility Award for our programme for homeless people. The Law Society praised the firm’s community and pro bono initiatives, which are designed to break the cycle of homelessness, and which include pro bono work with both Crisis and at the Dellow drop-in legal advice centre hosted by Providence Row, and the ‘Ready for Work’ initiative – Freshfields’ programme of work experience placements.
This was the first year of the Law Society Excellence Awards which are designed to “celebrate the very best of the best”.
‘This award is great recognition for the many people who work here who are involved in making this programme such a success, including the lawyers who provide pro bono legal advice at the Dellow Centre and to homeless charities, and the volunteers who support homeless people during and after their work placements,’ said Guy Morton, Freshfields’ joint senior partner. ‘We would like to thank them, and those who participate in team challenges and our many other activities designed to make a real difference to homeless people, for all their hard work.’
The citation reads:
‘Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s range of projects including supporting charity Crisis on its Urban Village project to provide free legal advice on housing issues made their entry stand out. Most notable was a programme designed to break the cycle of homelessness and social exclusion through providing work experience, job coaching, informal support schemes and pro bono legal advice. The firm offers 20 placements a year and to date has employed 14 people on a permanent basis.’
Freshfields takes seriously its commitment to being a socially and environmentally responsible business and has a network of partners and others across the firm who are responsible for managing and developing these commitments. The firm is working to minimise its impact on the environment and is off-setting its carbon emissions where it is unable to reduce them. Currently, Freshfields is gathering data for its second corporate responsibility report, which will be externally audited.
This year Freshfields received the award for CSR Firm of the Year at the 2007 Legal Business Awards and was awarded a Business in the Community Big Tick for our Ready for Work programme. The firm has also launched its first Community Challenge month to encourage and enable more people to become involved in the firm’s community and pro bono programme. Employees across the firm’s international network have been encouraged to spend one working day during October participating in community team challenges facilitated by the firm.